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The  Angel  Warriors  at  Mons. 







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The  press  in  this  country  has  recently  given  publicity  to 
various  stories  claiming  to  be  authentic  of  appearances 
of  phantom  warriors  who  are  stated  to  have  come  to  the 
rescue  of  the  hardly-pressed  armies  of  France  and  England 
at  the  time  of  the  retreat  from  Mons.  At  this  date  it  will 
be  recollected  that  the  German  army  was  carrying  every- 
thing before  it  in  a  triumphant  advance  towards  Paris, 
and  it  seemed  to  the  majority  of  people  both  in  this  country 
and  across  the  Channel  that  nothing  could  prevent  the 
capture  of  the  French  capital.  Suddenly  there  came  a 
change  over  the  whole  outlook — a  change  that  was  ex- 
plained in  all  sorts  of  different  ways  according  to  the 
conceptions  of  the  military  situation  as  seen  from  the  point 
of  view  of  innumerable  armchair  strategists.  An  opinion 
which  held  favour  with  many,  and  which  rumour  loudly 
supported,  was  that  a  Russian  army  had  come  by  sea  to 
an  English  port,  and  passing  through  this  country  and 
across  the  Channel  had  landed  on  the  French  coast,  and 
was  threatening  the  German  line  of  retreat.  This  bubble 
was  soon  burst,  but  people  still  continued  to  ask  themselves 
how  it  was  that  the  triumphant  onward  march  of  the 
irresistible  German  army  had  suddenly  been  thrown  back 
at  the  battle  of  the  Marne,  in  disastrous  and  ignominious 



The  Bowmen 

It  was  about  this  time  (September  29,  19 14,  to  be  precise) 
that  a  circumstantial  narrative  which  might  have  been 
intended  to  be  taken  either  as  fact  or  fiction  appeared  in  the 
columns  of  the  Swewn^g  News  under  the  title  of  The  Bowmen. 
This  story  narrated  how  at  a  critical  point  in  the  retreat  of 
the  Allies  an  apparition  of  an  army  of  English  bowmen 
with  St.  George  at  their  head  had  come  to  the  rescue  of 
the  retreating  forces  of  General  Joffre  and  Sir  John  French, 
and  had  struck  terror  into  the  German  armies.  Many 
readers  took  this  charmingly-written  tale  as  a  statement 
of  fact,  but  a  letter  addressed  to  the  author,  Mr.  Machen, 
by  the  present  writer,  elicited  the  response  that  the  narrative 
had  no  foundation  outside  the  writer's  vivid  fancy.  Soon, 
however,  correspondence  began  to  reach  the  papers  from 
various  quarters  giving  records  more  or  less  circumstantial 
of  appearances  of  phantom  warriors  who,  it  was  confidently 
averred,  had  actually  come  to  the  rescue  of  the  defeated 
armies  at  this  critical  moment.  These  correspondents 
would  have  none  of  Mr.  Machen's  statement  that  his  story 
was  pure  romance.  '  It  might  not  be,  they  said  in  effect, 
that  the  phantom  English  bowmen  had  been  seen  on  the 
battlefield  (though  one  of  the  narratives  actually  maintains 
this),  but  they  stoutly  declared  that  of  the  apparitions  of 
spirit  warriors  and  especially  of  St.  George  on  his  white 
charger,  there  could  be  no  possible  doubt.  These  stories 
were  in  their  turn  borne  out  by  the  French  wounded,  many 
of  whom  maintained  that  while  the  English  had  seen  the 
figure  they  took  for  St.  George,  they  themselves  had  seen 
St.  Michael,  while  many  others  had  witnessed  the  apparition 
of  Joan  of  Arc  riding  at  their  head  in  full  armour. 

Such  stories  had  indeed  been  widely  current  in  France 
at  the  time  of  the  retreat  from  Mons — nearly  a  month 
before  the  appearance  of  Mr.  Machen's  story.  Thus  a 
lance-cerporal,    who  was    subsequently  wounded,    and  is 



now  in  an  English  hospital,  told  his  nurse  (Miss  C.  M. 
Wilson)  of  his  own  experience  on  or  about  August  28.  It 
is  not  so  definite  or  circumstantial  as  some  of  the  others, 
but  it  has  the  merit  at  least  of  being  first-hand.  "  The 
weather,"  he  states,  "was  at  the  time  very  hot  and  clear, 
and  between  eight  and  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening  we  were 
standing  with  a  party  of  nine  other  men  on  duty.  Im- 
mediately behind  us  half  of  our  battalion  was  on  the  edge 
of  a  wood  resting,  when  an  officer  suddenly  came  up  in 
a  state  of  great  anxiety  and  asked  if  we  had  seen  anything 
startling,"  the  impression  at  the  moment  being  that  a 
German  surprise  attack  was  threatened.  Immediately  after 
this  the  lance-corporal's  attention  was  drawn  to  a  stran{je 
appearance  in  the  sky. 

A  Lance-Corporal's  Evidence 

I  could  see  quite  plainly  in  mid-air  (he  said)  a 
strange  light  which  seemed  to  be  quite  distinctly  outlined 
and  was  not  a  reflection  of  the  moon,  nor  were  there  any 
clouds  in  the  neighbourhood.  The  light  became  brighter 
and  I  could  see  quite  distinctly  three  shapes,  one  in  the 
centre  having  what  looked  like  outspread  wings,  the  other 
two  were  not  so  large,  but  were  quite  plainly  distinct  from 
the  centre  one.  They  appeared  to  have  a  long  loose-hang- 
ing garment  of  a  golden  tint,  and  they  were  above  the 
German  line  facing  us. 

We  stood  watching  them  for  about  three-quarters 
of  an  hour.  All  the  men  with  me  saw  them,  and  other  men 
came  up  from  other  groups  who  also  told  us  that  they  had 
seen  the  same  thing.  I  am  not  a  believer  in  such  things, 
but  I  have  not  the  slightest  doubt  that  we  really  did  see 
what  I  now  tell  you. 

In  most  of  the  records  of  the  appearance  the  apparition 
of  a  luminous  cloud  is  alluded  to.  One  of  these  narrates 
how  "  in  this  cloud  there  seemed  to  be  bright  objects 
moving.  The  moment  it  appeared  the  German  onslaught 
received  a  check.  The  horses  could  be  seen  rearing  and 
plunging  and  ceased  to  advance."  A  soldier  of  the  Dublin 
Fusiliers  is  cited  as  confirming  this  phenomenon,  adding,  with 


regard  to  the  cloud,  that  it  quite  hid  them  from  the  enemy. 
Numerous  references  have  been  made  in  the  pulpits  to  these 
phenomena,  some  of  the  clergy  going  so  far  as  to  read 
letters  from  soldiers  at  the  front  to  their  congregations. 
Mr.  Lancaster,  for  instance,  a  Weymouth  clergyman,  read 
one  of  these  letters  from  a  soldier  who  said  that  his  regiment 
was  pursued  by  a  large  number  of  German  cavahry,  from 
which  they  took  refuge  in  a  quarry,  where  the  Germans 
found  them  and  were  on  the  point  of  shooting  them, 
"  At  that  moment,"  said  the  writer,  "  the  whole  top  edge 
of  the  quarry  was  lined  by  angels,  who  were  seen  by  all 
the  soldiers  and  the  Germans  as  well.  The  Germans 
suddenly  stopped,  turned  round,  and  galloped  away  at 
top  speed."  The  Universe,  a  Roman  Catholic  paper,  gives 
a  story  told  by  a  Roman  Catholic  officer  at  the  front,  of  an 
apparition  of  men  with  bows  and  arrows,  and  states  that 
when  he  was  talking  to  a  German  prisoner  afterwards 
the  man  asked  who  was  the  officer  on  a  great  white  horse 
who  led  them,  for  although  he  was  such  a  conspicuous 
fit^ure  they  had  none  of  them  been  able  to  hit  him.  This 
is  the  single  instance  above  alluded  to  where  the  story 
talhes  with  Mr.  Machen's  bowmen. 

Such  stories  as  that  of  the  apparitions  at  Mons  have  been 
told  in  connexion  with  various  great  historical  battles, 
but  they  have  always  been  put  down  as  legendary.  The 
most  famous  instance  of  this  is  that  so  brilUantly  utihzed 
by  Lord  Macaulay  in  his  ballad  entitled  "  The  Battle  of 
Lake  Regillus,"  where  two  mysterious  horsemen  appear, 
who  lead  the  Roman  army  to  victory  and  are  subsequently 
averred  to  have  been  the  great  Twin  Brethren  of  Roman 
Mythology,  Castor  and  Pollux,  Among  Bible  records  we 
have  the  story  of  the  siege  of  Dothan  by  the  King  of 
Assyria,  when  Elisha  is  narrated  as  turning  to  his  terrified 
servant  and  stating  that,  "  They  that  be  with  us  are  more 
than  they  that  be  with  them,"  Ehsha  then  prays  that  his 
servant's  eyes  may  be   opened,   that  he  may   see,    and,  ji 


continues  the  Bible  narrative,  "  The  Lord  opened  the  eyes 
of  the  young  man  and  he  saw,  and  behold,  the  mountain 
was  full  of  horses  and  chariots  of  fire  round  about  Elisha." 

A  somewhat  similar  story  is  told  with  regard  to  the 
victory  of  Judas  Maccabeus  in  the  second  century  b.c.  over 
Lysias,  the  General  of  Antiochus  Epiphanes.  The  army  of 
Judas  only  consisted  of  10,000  men  whereas  that  of  Lj-sias 
numbered  80,000.  "  When  they  were  at  Jerusalem,"  says 
the  historian,*  "there  appeared  before  them  on  horseback 
one  in  white  apparel  shaking  his  armour  of  gold.  Thus 
they  marched  forward  in  their  armour,  having  an  helper 
from  heaven;  for  the  Lord  was  merciful  unto  them." 

Among  the  most  important  records  of  psychic  phenomena 
occurring  on  the  occasion  of  the  Battle  of  Mons  is  that  of 
Miss  Phyllis  Campbell,  who  has  for  many  months  of  the 
war  been  a  nurse  at  a  hospital  near  the  front.  It  fell  to 
her  lot  to  tend  various  wounded  soldiers  who  had  witnessed 
these  strange  phenomena  and  she  gave  a  record  of  her 
experiences  in  the  form  of  an  article  which  appeared  in  the 
August  issue  of  the  Occult  Review.^  c  On  one  occasion  while 
she  was  bandaging  a  shattered  arm,  the  President  of  the 

post,  Mme  de  A ,  came  and  took  her  place,  asking  her 

to  attend  to  an  Englishman  who  was  begging  for  a  holy 
picture.  The  idea  of  an  English  soldier  making  such  a 
request  at  such  a  time  seemed  curious  enough,  but  she 
hurried  off  to  attend  to  his  needs.  He  proved  to  be  a 
Lancashire  FusiUer. 

St.  George  at  Mons 

He  was  propped  in  a  corner  (says  Miss  Campbell),  his 
left  arm  tied  up  in  a  peasant  woman's  head  kerchief,  and 
his  head  newly  bandaged.  He  should  have  been  in  a  state 
of  collapse  from  loss  of  blood,  for  his  tattered  uniform  was 
soaked  and  caked  in  blood,  and  his  face  paper-white  under 
the  dirt  of  conflict.  He  looked  at  me  with  bright  courageous 
eyes  and  asked  for  a  picture  or  a  medal  (he  did  not  care 

*  II  Maccabeus,  xi,  8,  9,  10. 

t  Reprinted  in  the  September  number. 


which)  of  St.  George.  I  asked  if  he  was  a  Catholic.  "  No," 
he  was  a  Wesleyan  Methodist,  and  he  wanted  a  picture, 
or  a  medal  of  St.  George,  because  he  had  seen  him  on  a  white 
horse,  leading  the  British  at  Vitry-le-Frangois,  when  the 
Alhes  turned.  There  was  an  R.F.A.  man,  wounded  in  the 
leg,  sitting  beside  him  on  the  floor  ;  he  saw  my  look  of 
amazement,  and  hastened  in,  "  It's  true,  Sister,"  he  said. 
"  We  all  saw  it.  First  there  was  a  sort  of  yellow  mist, 
sort  of  risin'  before  the  Germans  as  they  come  on  to  the 
top  of  the  hill,  come  on  like  a  solid  wall  they  did — springing 
out  of  the  earth  just  solid — no  end  to  'em.  I  just  give  up. 
No  use  fighting  the  whole  German  race,  thinks  I  ;  it's  all 
up  with  us.  The  next  minute  comes  this  funny  cloud  of 
light,  and  when  it  clears  off  there's  a  tall  man  with  yellow 
hair,  in  golden  armour,  on  a  white  horse,  holding  his  sword 
up,  and  his  mouth  open  as  if  he  was  saying,  '  Come  on, 
boys  !  I'll  put  the  k^'bosh  on  the  devils.'  Sort  of  '  This 
is  my  picnic  '  expression.  Then,  before  you  could  say 
'  knife,'  the  Germans  had  turned,  and  we  were  after  them, 
fighting  like  ninety.  We  had  a  few  scores  to  settle,  Sister, 
and  we  fair  settled  them." 

Both  these  soldiers  knew  it  was  St.  George,  for  "  Had  not 
they  seen  him  with  his  sword  on  every  quid  they'd  ever 
had  ?  "  The  "  Frenchies,"  however,  they  admitted, 
maintained  that  it  was  St.  Michael.  The  French  wounded 
Miss  Campbell  describes  as  being  in  a  curiously  exalted 
condition — a  sort  of  rapture  of  happiness.  It  was  quite 
true,  they  maintained.  The  Germans  were  in  full  retreat, 
and  the  Allies  were  being  led  to  victory  by  St.  Michael 
and  Joan  of  Arc.  One  of  the  wounded  French  soldiers 
happened  to  have  come  from  Domremy,  Joan  of  Arc's 
native  home,  and  declared  that  he  saw  her  brandishing 
her  sword  and  crying,  "  Turn  !  turn  !  advance  !  "  "  No 
wonder,"  he  cried,  "  the  Boches  fled  down  the  hill." 

A  Dying  Guardsman's  Narrative 

Miss  Phyllis  Campbell  told  Mme  de  A her  experience 

with  the  soldiers,  and  they  agreed  to  compare  notes  with 
the  rest  of  the  staff.  All  but  one  had  heard  the  tale  of 
the  angelic  leaders,  and  this  one  had  been  detailed  to  guard 


three  wounded  Germans,  and  had  therefore  had  no  oppor- 
tunity of  conversation.  Miss  Campbell  mentions  the  case 
of  three  men  of  the  Irish  Guard  who  were  mortally  wounded 
and  asked  for  the  Sacrament  before  death,  and  before 
dying  told  the  same  story  to  the  old  abbe  who  confessed 
them.  The  author  of  this  remarkable  article  draws  attention 
to  the  fact  that  whereas  immediately  before  the  apparitions 
were  seen  all  the  wounded  soldiers  who  were  brought  in 
expressed  the  conviction  of  swiftly  approaching  disaster, 
immediately  afterwards  there  was  a  complete  transforma- 
tion of  their  attitude,  the  sense  of  despair  giving  place  to 
a  state  of  strange  exaltation  and  confidence  of  victory. 
It  is  only  natural  that  long  forced  marches  without  adequate 
food,  under  a  condition  of  intense  strain  and  anxiety, 
should  produce  a  condition  of  the  nerves  which  is  far  from 
normal,  and  however  ready  we  may  be  to  grant  the  genuine- 
ness of  the  experiences  above  narrated,  it  must  be  borne 
in  mind  that  men  in  such  a  state  of  tension  will  be  far 
more  susceptible  to  psychic  influences  than  they  would 
be  under  normal,  everyday  conditions.  Granted,  however, 
that  such  conditions  were  prevalent,  it  is  noteworthy  that 
very  similar,  though  not  identical,  experiences  were  under- 
gone, if  the  records  are  to  be  relied  upon,  by  thousands  of 
French  and  English  soldiers. 

The  abnormal  conditions  induced  by  the  intense  strain 
of  the  long  marches  enforced  by  the  rearguard  fighting  is 
made  evident  by  a  curious  passage  which  appears  in  a  re- 
cently published  work  entitled  The  Crucible,  by  Mabel  Collins. 
She  here  cites  a  letter  from  a  young  officer  who  was  killed 
immediately  afterwards,  who  says,  "  I  had  the  most 
amazing  hallucinations  marching  at  night,  so  I  was  fast 
asleep,  I  think.  Every  one  was  reeling  about  the  road  and 
seeing  things."  And  again,  of  the  following  night,  he 
adds,  "  I  saw  aU  sorts  of  things,  enormous  men  walking 
towards  me  and  lights  and  chairs  and  things  in  the  road." 

Another  contribution  to  the  evidence  on  the  subject  of 


the  apparitions  at  the  front  has  been  sent  me  by  the  Rev. 
Alexander  A.  Bodd5^  Vicar  of  All  Saints,  Monkwearmouth.* 
Mr.  Boddy  was  for  two  months  at  the  front  with  the  troops 
in  France,  and  in  the  course  of  his  work  was  the  recipient 
of  some  interesting  communications.  Among  other  stories 
he  gives  that  of  a  soldier  of  the  third  Canadians  who  stated 
that  after  the  second  battle  of  Ypres,  when  their  battalion 
was  retiring  through  their  communication  trenches  towards 
their  rest  camp,  they  were  obliged  to  halt  where  a  West 
Riding  regiment  was  stationed.  During  the  halt  one  of 
the  men  of  this  regiment  was  narrating  to  those 'around 
him  a  strange  experience  of  his  own.  He  had  seen,  he 
said,  what  appeared  at  first  to  be  a  ball  of  fire.  Afterwards 
it  took  the  form  of  an  angel  with  outstretched  wings 
standing  between  the  British  front  line  and  that  of  the 
enemy.  Mr.  Boddy  also  mentions  a  story  told  to  the 
sister  of  a  gentleman  who  had  given  up  his  house  as  a 
convalescent  home  for  wounded  soldiers.  One  of  the 
wounded  soldiers  told  the  lady  that  at  a  critical  moment  an 
angel  with  outspread  wings  like  a  luminous  cloud  stood 
between  the  advancing  Germans  and  themselves.  This 
figure  appeared  to  render  it  impossible  for  the  Germans 
to  advance  and  annihilate  them.  The  lady  in  question  was 
subsequently  speaking  of  this  incident  in  the  presence  of 
some  officers  and  expressed  her  own  incredulity.  One  oi 
the  officers,  a  colonel,  looked  up  at  this,  and  observed — 
"  Young  lady,  the  thing  happened.  You  need  not  be 
incredulous.  I  saw  it  myself."  It  is  curious  to  note  that 
similar  phenomena  to  those  which  have  occurred  in  the 
present  war  were  narrated  of  the  siege  of  the  British 
Legation  by  the  Boxers  at  Pekin.  The  occupants  of  the 
Legation  found  the  house  they  occupied  untenable,  and 
were  obliged  to  move  to  another  position,  and  while  the 
removal  took  place  the  British  were  in  full  view  of  the 

'  From  an  address  at  an  open-air  meeting  reported  in  the  Sunderland 
Echo  of  August  i6. 


Chinese  insurgents,  who  they  took  for  granted  would  fire 
upon  them.  To  their  great  surprise  they  failed  to  do  so. 
An  Englishman  who  was  present  on  the  occasion  and  who 
knew  Chinese  as  well  as  his  own  native  language,  took  the 
opportunity  afterwards  of  asking  one  of  the  Chinese  soldiers 
why  they  missed  such  a  fine  chance.  The  Chinaman  gave 
as  a  reason  the  fact  that  "  There  were  so  many  people  in 
white  between  them  and  the  British  that  they  did  not  hke 
to  fire." 

A  valuable  addition  to  the  list  of  records  in  connexion 
with  the  phenomena  at  :Mons  was  supphed  by  Miss  Callow, 
secretary  of  the  Higher  Thought  Centre,  at  South  Kensing- 
ton, to  the  Weekly  Dispatch.     She  writes  : 

An  officer  has  sent  to  one  of  the  members  of  the  Centre 
a  detailed  account  of  a  vision  that  appeared  to  himself 
and  others  when  fighting  against  fearful  odds  at  Mons. 
He  plainly  saw  an  apparition  representing  St.  George  the 
patron  saint  of  England,  the  exact  counterpart  of  a  picture 
that  hangs  to-day  in  a  London  restaurant.  So  terrible 
was  their  plight  at  the  time  that  the  officer  could  not  refrain 
from  appealing  to  the  vision  to  help  them.  Then,  as  if  the 
enemy  had  also  seen  the  apparition,  the  Germans  abandoned 
their  positions  in  precipitate  terror.  In  other  instances 
men  had  written  about  seeing  Clouds  of  Celestial  Horsemen 
hovering  over  the  British  lines. 

Miss  Callow  also  adds  that  a  nurse  at  the  front  on  one 
occasion  asked  her  patients  why  they  were  so  silent,  to 
which  the  men  replied,  "  We  have  had  strange  experiences, 
which  we  do  not  care  to  talk  about.  We  have  seen  many 
of  our  mates  killed,  but  they  are  fighting  for  us  still." 

Doubt  has,  not  unnaturally,  been  cast  upon  the  credi- 
bility of  these  records  in  England,  owing  to  the  publication 
of  Mr.  Machen's  story  and  his  persistent  affirmation  that  this 
story  was  purely  evolved  from  his  own  inner  consciousness. 
There  appears,  however,  to  be  no  question  that  at  the  time  of 
his  writing  The  Bowmen  and  for  weeks  before,  these  stories 
had  been  current,  especially  on  the  other  side  of  the  Channel, 
and  if  we  are  to  accept  the  now  generally  admitted  fact  of 


telepathy,  nothing  is  more  Hkely  than  that  a  record  passing 
from  mouth  to  mouth  might  have  reached  Mr.  Machen's 
subconscious  intelUgence  and  formed  the  basis  of  a  story 
the  main  details  of  which,  after  all,  only  approximately 
corresponded  to  the  experiences  of  the  soldiers  at  the 

Spiritual  Exaltation 

The  spiritual  exaltation  above  alluded  to,  which  is  always 
liable  to  accompany  great  battles,  has  indeed  given  rise 
in  numerous  authenticated  instances  of  psjxhical  pheno- 
mena of  an  entirely  abnormal  kind,  and  such  phenomena 
on  the  present  occasion  have  not  been  confined  to  only 
one  theatre  of  the  war.  Stories  have  been  widely  current 
in  the  Russian  army  that  many  Russian  sentinels  have  seen 
the  famous  ghost  of  General  Skobeleff  in  white  uniform  and 
riding  his  white  charger.  This  apparition  is  supposed  to 
appear  when  the  armies  of  the  Tsar  are  in  imminent  danger, 
and  invariably  to  create  a  panic  in  the  ene^ly's  ranks. 
General  Skobeleff,  it  wiU  be  remembered,  played  a  con- 
spicuous part  in  the  Russo-Turkish  War  of  1877-78,  in 
particular  in  the  storming  of  the  then  Turkish  fortress  of 

A  spiritual  experience  of  another  kind  is  also  told  in 
connexion  with  the  battle  of  Augustovo  in  October  19 14, 
in  which  the  German  army  met  with  its  first  disastrous 
defeat  at  the  hands  of  the  Russians.  The  story,  which 
was  communicated  by  a  Russian  general  who  was  wit!i 
the  army  operating  in  East  Prussia,  runs  as  follows : 

Vision  of  The  Virgin  Mary 

WTiile  our  troops  were  in  the  region  of  Suwalki,  the 
captain  of  one  of  my  regiments  witnessed  a  marvellous 

It  was  eleven  o'clock  at  night,  and  the  troops  were  in 
bivouac.  Suddenly  a  soldier  from  one  of  our  outposts, 
wearing  a  startled  look,  rushed  in  and  called  the  captain. 
The  latter  went  with  the  soldier  to  the  outskirts  of  the 


camp  and  witnessed  an  amazing  apparition  in  the  sky. 
I't  was  that  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  with  the  Infant  Christ  on 
one  hand,  the  other  hand  pointing  to  the  west. 

Our  soldiers  knelt  on  the  ground  and  gazed  fervently 
at  the  vision.  After  a  time  the  apparition  faded,  and  in 
its  place  came  a  great  image  of  the  Cross,  shining  against 
the  dark  night  sky. 

Slowly  it  faded  away. 

On  the  following  day  our  army  advanced  westward  to 
the  victorious  battle  of  Augustovo." 

This  strange  state  of  psychic  exaltation  is  also  doubtless 
accountable  for  the  remarkable  and  well-attested  pheno- 
mena which  took  place  nightly  for  some  months  after  the 
Battle  of  Edge  Hill,  in  the  Enghsh  Civil  War,  on  the  subject 
of  which  Lord  Nugent  makes  comment  "  that  the  world 
abounds  with  histories  of  preternatural  appearances,  the 
most  utterly  incredible,  supported  by  testimonies  the  most 
undeniable."  Here  is  a  ghost  story  of  the  most  prepos- 
terous sort.  "  Yet  is  this  story,"  he  adds,  "  attested  upon 
the  oath  of  three  officers,  men  of  honour  and  distinction, 
and  of  three  other  gentlemen  of  credit,  selected  by  the 
King  as  commissioners  to  report  upon  these  prodigies, 
and  to  tranquillize  and  disabuse  the  alarms  of  a  country 
town."  The  record  of  these  phenomena  is  given  in  a  rare 
and  curious  tract  entitled  A  Great  Wonder  in  Heaven, 
showing  the  late  Apparitions  and  Prodigious  Noyses  of  War 
and  Battels,  seen  on  Edge  Hill,  neere  Keinton  in  Northampton- 
shire. Certified  under  the  Hands  of  William  Wood,  Esquire, 
and  Justice  for  the  Peace  in  the  said  Countie,  Samuel  Marshall, 
Preacher  of  Gods  Word  in  Keinton,  and  other  Persons  of 
Qualitie. — London  :  Printed  for  Thomas  Jackson,  January 
23,  ArmoDom.  1642  (1643  ?).  Its  bearing  on  the  question 
under  discussion  seems  to  me  to  warrant  its  reproduction 
here  in  the  words  of  the  narrator: 

The  Battle  of  Edge  Hill 

Between  twelve  and  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  (say3 
our  authority),  was  heard  by  some  shepherds,  and  other 


country-men,  and  travellers,  first  the  sound  of  drummes 
afar  off,  and  the  noyse  of  souldiers,  as  it  were,  giving  out 
their  last  groanes  ;  at  which  they  were  much  amazed,  and 
amazed  stood  still,  till  it  seemed,  by  the  neernesse  of  the 
noyse,  to  approach  them  ;  at  which  too  much  affrighted, 
they  sought  to  withdraw  as  fast  as  possibly  they  could  ; 
but  then,  on  the  sudden,  whilest  they  were  in  these  cogita- 
tions, appeared  in  the  ayre  the  same  incorporeall  souldiers 
that  made  those  clamours,  and  immediately,  with  ensignes 
display'd,  drummes  beating,  musquets  going  off,  cannons 
discharged,  horses  neyghing,  which  also  to  these  men  were 
visible,  the  alarum  or  entrance  to  this  game  of  death  was 
strucke  up,  one  Army,  which  gave  the  first  charge,  having 
the  King's  colours,  and  the  other  the  Parliaments,  in  their 
head  or  front  of  the  battells,  and  so  pell  mell  to  it  they  went  ; 
the  battell  that  appeared  to  the  Kings  forces  seeming  at 
first  to  have  the  best,  but  afterwards  to  be  put  into  apparent 
rout  ;  but  till  two  or  three  in  the  morning  in  equal!  scale 
continued  this  dreadful  fight,  the  clattering  of  Armes, 
noyse  of  cannons,  cries  of  souldiers,  so  amazing  and  terifying 
the  poore  men,  that  they  could  not  believe  they  were 
mortall,  or  give  credit  to  their  eares  and  eyes  ;  runne  away 
they  durst  not,  for  feare  of  being  made  a  prey  to  these 
infernall  souldiers,  and  so  they,  with  much  feare  and  affright, 
stayed  to  behold  the  successe  of  the  businesse,  which  at 
last  suited  to  this  effect  :  after  some  three  hours  fight, 
that  Army  which  carryed  the  Kings  colours  withdrew,  or 
rather  appeared  to  flie  ;  the  other  remaining,  as  it  were, 
masters  of  the  field,  stayed  a  good  space  triumphing,  and 
expressing  all  the  signes  of  joy  and  conquest,  and  then, 
with  all  their  drummes,  trumpets,  ordinance,  and  souldiers, 
vanished  ;  the  poore  men  were  glad  they  were  gone,  that 
had  so  long  staid  them  there  against  their  wills,  made  with 
all  haste  to  Keinton,  and  there  knocking  up  Mr.  Wood,  a 
Justice  of  Peace,  who  called  up  his  neighbour,  Mr.  Marshall, 
the  Minister,  they  gave  them  an  account  of  the  whole 
passage,  and  averred  it  upon  their  oaths  to  be  true.  At 
■W':Z\ich  affirmation  of  theirs,  being  much  amazed,  they 
should  hardly  have  given  credit  to  it,  but  would  have  con- 
jectured the  men  to  have  been  either  mad  or  drunk,  had 
they  not  knowne  some  of  them  to  have  been  of  approved 
integritie  :  and  so,  suspending  their  judgements  till  the 
next  night  about  the  same  houre,  they,  with  the  same  men, 
and  all  the  substantial!  inhabitants  of  that  and  the  neigh- 
bouring  parishes,    drew   thither  ;     where,    about   half   an 


houre  after  their  arrivall,  on  Sunday,  being  Christmas 
night,  appeared  in  the  same  tumultuous  warhke  manner, 
the  same  two  adverse  Armies,  fighting  with  as  much  spite 
and  spleen  as  formerly.  The  next  night  they  appeared  not, 
nor  all  the  week,  so  that  the  dwellers  thereabout  were  in 
good  hope  they  had  for  ever  departed  ;  but  on  the  ensuing 
Saturday  night,  in  the  same  place,  and  at  the  same  houre, 
they  were  again  scene  with  far  greater  tumult*  fighting  in 
the  manner  afore-mentioned  for  foure  houres,  and  then 
vanished,  appearing  againe  on  Sunday  night,  and  per- 
forming the  same  actions  of  hostilitie  and  bloodshed  ;  so 
that  both  Mr.  Wood  and  others,  whose  faith,  it  should 
seeme,  was  not  strong  enough  to  carry  them  out  against 
these  delusions,  forsook  their  habitations  thereabout,  and 
retired  themselves  to  other  more  secure  dwellings  ;  but 
Mr.  Marshall  stayed,  and  some  other  ;  and  so  successively 
the  next  Saturday  and  Sunday  the  same  tumults  and 
prodigious  sights  and  actions  were  put  in  the  state  and 
condition  they  were  formerly.  The  rumour  whereof  coming 
to  his  Majestic  at  Oxford,  he  immediately  dispatched 
thither  Colonell  Lewis  Kirke,  Captaine  Dudley,  Captaine 
Wainman,  and  three  other  gentlemen  of  credit,  to  take 
the  full  view  and  notice  of  the  said  businesse,  who,  first 
hearing  the  true  attestation  and  relation  of  Mr.  Marshall 
and  others  staid  there  till  Saturday  night  following,  wherein 
they  heard  and  saw  the  fore-mentioned  prodigies,  and  so 
on  Sunday,  distinctly  knowing  divers  of  the  apparitions 
or  incorporeall  substances  by  their  faces,  as  that  of  Sir 
Edmund  Varney,  and  others  that  were  there  slaine  ;  of 
which  upon  oath  they  made  testimony  to  his  Majestic. 
What  this  does  portend  God  only  knoweth,  and  time 
perhaps  will  discover  ;  but  doubtlessly  it  is  a  signe  of  his 
wrath  against  this  Land,  for  these  civil  wars,  which  He 
in  His  good  time  finish,  and  send  a  sudden  peace  between 
his  Majestic  and  Parliament. 

This  strange  psychic  record  is  not  indeed  in  any  sense 
an  exact  parallel  to  the  phenomena  which  have  excited 
so  great  an  interest  at  the  present  time,  but  it  serves  to 
show  the  effect  that  war  is  liable  to  produce  upon  the 
psychic  atmosphere,  and  in  this  manner  may  render  such 
incidents  as  those  recently  recorded  credible  to  the  minds 
of  many  who  would  at  first  sight  be  disposed  to  reject 


them  as  old  wives'  tales.  If  the  phenomena  following  the 
Battle  of  Edge  Hill  so  fully  substantiated  by  contemporary 
evidence  actually  took  place,  why  should  it  not  be  possible 
for  psychic  phenomena  of  a  certainly  no  more  remarkable 
kind,  to  be  one  of  the  concomitant  circumstances  of  the 
greatest  war  in  the  world's  history  ?  Would  it  not  rather 
be  strange  it  if  were  otherwise  ? 

These  records  do  not  in  fact  stand  alone.  The  ghostly 
story  of  the  Battle  of  Edge  Hill  which  has  been  perpetuated 
in  the  Memorials  of  John  Hampden,  His  Party  and  Times, 
by  Lord  Nugent,  finds  a  close  parallel  in  the  record  of  the 
Battle  of  Mook-Heath  of  April  13,  1574,  as  narrated  in 
Motley's  Rise  of  the  Dutch  Republic.  In  both  cases  were 
individual  combatants  identified.  In  both  cases  the 
phenomena  were  not  confined  to  experiences  of  the  sight 
alone.  The  shouts  of  the  combatants  and  the  discharge 
of  cannon  and  the  rattle  of  musketry  were  clearly  audible 
in  both  instances.  The  main  difference  indeed  lay  in 
the  curious  fact  that  whereas  the  phenomena  at  Edge  Hill 
followed  the  date  of  the  battle,  in  the  case  of  Mook-Heath 
they  preceded  it  by  some  tvi^o  months.  It  appears,  indeed, 
that  in  some  peculiar  way  great  wars  open  up  fresh  channels 
for  the  psychic  senses,  and  the  physical  struggle  of  great 
armies  appears  ever  to  have  its  counterpart  on  the  spiritual 
plane,  by  the  bringing  into  action  of  psychic  forces  working 
for  good  or  e\dl,  on  the  side  of  Light  or  of  Darkness — 
"  principaUties  and  powers  mustering  their  unseen  array  " 
— upon  whose  efforts  no  less  than  upon  the  efforts  of  those 
now  living  on  the  physical  plane  the  great  and  final  issues 
of  this  vast  world-conflict  ultimately  depend. 

The  Pros  and  Cons 
One  important  point  is  inevitably  raised  with  regard  to 
these  apparitions  on  the  European  battlefields.  They  have 
this  in  common,  with  many  similar  apparitions — that  is 
they  are  not  seen  alike  by  all  witnesses.  Where  one  sees 
St.  George  another  sees  St.  Michael,  and  a  third  Joan  of 


Arc.  Were  all  three  of  these  heroes  of  the  past  actually 
present  on  the  battlefield,  or  indeed  were  any  of  them  ? 
Even  assuming  that  we  accept  the  authenticity  of  the 
visions,  we  are  not,  I  think,  called  upon  to  say  that  they  were. 
Spirit  is  plastic.  May  we  not  rather  say  that  it  is  Protean  ? 
It  is  clothed  upon  by  the  imagination  of  the  beholder  to 
an  almost  hmitless  extent.  In  a  further  account  of  Miss 
PhyUis  Campbell's  which  she  gave  to  the  editor  of  the 
Evening  News,  she  relates  how  a  soldier  of  the  Irish  Guards, 
an  enormous  man  who  stood  over  six  feet  five  inches,  told 
her,  narrating  his  own  experiences,  that  "  St.  George  v/as 
in  golden  armour,  bareheaded,  and  riding  a  white  horse." 
He  cried  "  Come  on  !  "  as  he  brandished  his  sword.  Whj-, 
we  may  ask,  was  St.  George  in  golden  armour  ?  Doubtless 
because  the  Irish  guardsman  had  seen  him  most  recently 
on  the  back  of  a  sovereign.  Here  also  he  is  brandishing 
a  sword.  The  apparitions  which  created  such  a  sensation 
in  the  South  of  France  a  few  months  before  the  outbreak 
of  war  had  the  same  tendency  to  vary  according  to  the 
temperament  of  the  beholder.  Here,  too,  Joan  of  Arc 
was  seen  (among  others)  and  foretold  the  fact  that  she 
was  the  harbinger  of  a  great  war,  by  making  stars  appear 
from  out  of  a  clouded  sky  at  the  request  of  the  village  cure. 
WTio  can  doubt  that  if  a  Theosophist  had  been  present  at 
the  retreat  of  Mons  he  would  have  witnessed  an  apparition 
of  one  of  the  Mahatmas,  just  as  the  Russian  soldiers  saw 
the  phantom  of  General  Skobeleff  ?  ^  The  gods  of  ancient 
days,  according  to  classical  story,  became  ■  visible  to* the 
heroes  whose  causes  they  espoused,  in  the  guise  of  mortal 
men.  The  radiant  forms  of  the  spiritual  hierarchies  can 
<xily  be  made  manifest  to  mortal  eye  in  a  form  which  the 
beholder  can  interpret.  The  spirit  champion  of  British 
arms  inevitably  takes  the  form  of  St.  George.  He  comes 
in  the  spirit  and  power  of  St.  George  to  do  St.  George's 
work,  and  thus  the  British  soldier  interprets  his  spiritual 
leaders  in  terms  of  the  ancient  traditions  of  his  race. 

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